Thoughts from Andrew

Prejudice

Many people are profoundly uncomfortable with difference. The people I chronicle in Far from the Tree often first encounter such prejudice in parents who have difficulty accepting them. Prejudice can make people hate themselves, and it can close down the discourse about identity and shared humanity. At its worst, it manifests in physical violence; even at its best, it contains an insidious heartlessness.

When I was two, Time magazine wrote, "Even in purely nonreligious terms, homosexuality represents a misuse of the sexual faculty. It is a pathetic…

Barbara Matusky struggled to give her children a feeling of confidence. "The whole time they were growing up I said, 'You can do anything you want…

"My parents didn’t wonder what I would like to do, what kind of woman I’d marry, or how many children I would have. They wondered what I could…

John Langdon Down proposed that human evolution had gone from black people to Asians to white people, and that white people born with Mongolism were actually…

In 1968, the ethicist Joseph Fletcher wrote in the Atlantic Monthly that there was "no reason to feel guilty about putting a Down’s syndrome baby…

A psychiatrist I met described a patient who was a math genius, IQ 140, fully verbal, but very socially disabled. When the pretty woman at the counter…

More than half of children murdered in the US are killed by their own parents, and about half of those parents claim to have acted altruistically. Societal…

"From the age of three until the age of twelve, three times a week, women who were older than I was, who were more powerful than I was, who had more…

Marina James said she related to veterans returning from Iraq. "They've seen horrific things that they could never express. They come home and they…

The standard treatment was to send them to maternity homes where they were encouraged to surrender their children for adoption. They were told this would…

"Because I knew it would mean a lot to Corinna, I actually called Donna, and asked her to call Corinna and say that she loved her and that she was…

"I have physical scars on my body from his abuse of me. He’s made her into another scar. I can't even stand to look at her. I wish I had never…

Mirveta was 20 and illiterate; her husband had abandoned her because of the pregnancy. "He was a healthy little boy and Mirveta had produced him,"…

Jails draw on the popular belief that the more we punish people, the safer the country becomes. This is the same as the assumption that the more you whip…

Spending time with criminals, I have been struck by the fact that some have poor impulse control and some are weak or stupid or destructive, but many…

"A male child who says, 'I must be a girl because only girls want to do these things,’ is not showing evidence of being transgender; he’s showing…

The first phone call the Pearsons had came from one of the people in their community from whom Kim had expected condemnation. "He said, 'Shawn is…

Shannon began bribing her son. "If you don't cry all week, I'll buy you a Barbie this weekend," she said. Each week they would choose the bribe.…

"I had a little present, and I gave it to Hannah and said, 'Here you go, baby boy.’ She just looked at me like, Mama, do you not accept me any…

Since 1999, more than 400 trans people have been murdered in the United States, and Transgender Day of Remembrance puts the rate of fatal hate crimes…

"They were going to gut her. They were going to cut off her genitals and treat her like the woman she wanted to be. They were going to snatch her…

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